Body: Read Galatians 3:1-5 I. Questions to Ponder. Paul talks rather harshly to the Galatians believers in this section of the Sunday School material.
He is concerned about their turning from the Holy Spirit received by hearing the gospel to a relying on human efforts to keep the Mosaic Law.
He challenges them to think back and see that it was by faith in what they heard, not by their keeping the Law, that they have been blessed.
Applications – - Self control and investments. Notice in vs. 1 of the Sunday School material that Paul uses harsh language with the Galatians. This is probably promoted by how much Paul had invested in these believers.
He is said to have planted churches and suffered mistreatment to get these believers established. For them to turn from the gospel to a salvation by works had to be more than disappointing for Paul.
On one hand, we should remind Paul to strive to be careful about harsh language. This is especially the case, when dealing with people who would rather highlight what you said than what they did, before you said what you said.
On the other hand, we should remind the Galatian believers that to whom much is given much is required. The more a leader invests in you, the more that is expected of you.
In church, it is not strange for the Pastor to expect more out of Deacons and teachers than those who simply come for Easter, Mother’s Day, and Christmas. Let’s work on both self control and living up to what has been invested in us.
- Don’t drift from the Spirit. Notice in vss. 1-5 of the Sunday School material that too much has been invested in us to turn from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the comforter and guide for believers.
So much suffering has been endured by others, so we can have the privilege of being saved and indwelt with the Holy Spirit. And God has performed too many miracles and done too many great things in our lives for us to turn from the Holy Spirit. Let’s reject anything that leads us away from the Holy Spirit.
We should be careful what we read, what radio stations and television shows we listen to, and the people we talk with. Too much has gone into our being here for us to simply turn left, when the Lord is calling us to keep moving straight ahead.
Read Galatians 3:6-9 II. Example to Consider. In this section of the Sunday School material Paul goes on to talk about Abraham. Abraham was justified or declared righteous because of his faith, not his good works.
Those who come to God by faith are children of Abraham, the father of faith. God fore saw that justification would be by faith for the Gentiles and Jews.
Applications – - Studying and obeying. Notice in vss. 6-7 of the Sunday School material the call for reflecting. The readers were called to consider Abraham and understand the implications of what happened with him.
Christian living calls for reflection by Christians. That is why it is so important to deal with the questions of “what does the passage say; what does it mean; and what does it mean to me”? when studying the Bible.
Too many people simply read the Bible with very little refection. And too many don’t even read the Bible. Let’s work on studying and striving to live by God’s word.
As we obey His word and will, we often discover that God has a huge master plan, in which we have a part to play. We don’t want to be guilty of messing up or slowing down the plan, by our lack of dutifulness.
As we obey God’s word, we discover that God is a promise keeper. He keeps His promises about blessing obedience and punishing disobedience, which should lead to our striving to be more obedient.
- Justification. Notice in vss. 6, 8 of the Sunday School material that Abraham was justified or declared righteous by faith. Abraham was not right with God because He kept the Law.
In fact, the Law had not been given in its entirety during Abraham’s time. Not only Abraham, but every believer is justified, declared righteous by faith.
We are right with God, not because we have lived so right, but because of our faith in Jesus paying it all. Let’s live like we appreciate the justification given to us by faith.
Such living should be known for obedience to God’s commands to love Him and others, as we love ourselves. However, this obedience is fueled by appreciation, not the hope that we will earn our salvation by such.
Read Galatians 3:10-14 III. Basis of Salvation. Paul goes further to explain that those who rely on observing the Law are under a curse. No one can keep all of the Law. Jesus became a curse for us.
We are declared righteous or are justified by our faith in Jesus, not by our attempt to live by the Law. The Holy Spirit is given, as promised, to those who believe.
Applications – - Good works will not work. Notice in vs. 10 of the Sunday School material that no one can keep the Law. The problem with those who claim a salvation by works is that no one can do enough good works to demand a right standing with God.
There is so much more to the will of God than for a person to stop smoking, drinking, and chasing after sex. There is more to God’s will than simply studying, serving, and giving. And no one lives up to all of God’s do’s and don’ts.
Let’s behave like we understand that we cannot save ourselves with good works.
When we think we earn our salvation with good works, we run the risk of being arrogant with those who we think are living sinful lives. Realizing that our good works don’t save us should lead to humility before God and other believers.
- Jesus becomes a curse. Notice in vs. 13 of the Sunday School material that Jesus became a curse for us. We are saved only because Jesus took our place. His death is a substitute payment for our sins, if we accept it by faith.
The devil works so hard to make this more complicated than it is. The gospel is so simple that every believer should be trying to help others understand it and its positive impact upon our lives. Let’s share the simple but powerful good news of Jesus paying it all.
Conclusion: Let’s work on living like we are saved by faith. God has much for those who obey His will.
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